cover image STONE HEART: A Novel of Sacajawea

STONE HEART: A Novel of Sacajawea

Diane Glancy, D. Glancy, . . Overlook, $21.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-58567-365-0

Glancy (Pushing the Bear) has fashioned an imaginative, second-person "diary" by the legendary Shoshone guide who aided Lewis and Clark on their expedition from Missouri to California. Sacajawea is a pregnant teenager in the late fall of 1804, having been abducted from her Shoshone tribe by the rival Hidatsas and then bought by Frenchman Toussaint Charbonneau. Charbonneau, characterized here as a brutish opportunist, serves as Lewis and Clark's interpreter, and from among his many wives he chooses Sacajawea to accompany them because she can help the explorers barter for horses from the Shoshone. In short paragraphs of staccato prose-poetry, Sacajawea offers her perspective on the arduous government-sponsored journey by foot, horseback and canoe in search of a water route to the Pacific. Her account is filled with her wide-eyed wonder at the strange ways of the white man—a party of 30 dragging their extravagant luggage over the mountains, writhing to the exotic tune of a fiddle and endlessly writing in diaries ("You watch the men write in their journals. What do they say with the gnarl of their letters? How can they say what the land is like with their marks?"). Throughout the book, excerpts from the actual diaries of Lewis and Clark serve as a counterpoint to Sacajawea's more intimate observations and mystical interpretations of their adventures. Though Glancy writes gracefully, Sacajawea's responses to the white men are predictable, and she never quite becomes a memorable character. Still, Glancy's sharply observed details and lyrical stylings make for a lively, thought-provoking read. Agent, Cynthia Cannell. (Mar.)